Adopting an Older Pet

Potential owners often overlook older pets in favor of puppies and kittens. While immature animals are cute and full of energy, they are also a lot of work.

Potential owners often overlook older pets in favor of puppies and kittens. While immature animals are cute and full of energy, they are also a lot of work. Senior pets are just as loving as younger animals, and they usually require less intense training and supervision. For a potential pet owner who is looking for a calm, affectionate cat or dog, an older animal is often the perfect choice.

Benefits of Adopting an Older Pet
Senior pets make excellent companions for a number of reasons including the following:

  • They usually need much less training than younger pets, but they can be trained if needed.
  • They tend to be much calmer than younger animals.
  • They are usually housebroken or litter trained.
  • They are more likely to be content sitting on your lap or by your side than younger pets.
  • They are already fully grown.
  • Their personalities are fully developed, so you know what you are getting before you adopt.

Things to Consider When Adopting an Older Pet

Making the Right Match
With older pets, personality matching is critical. Because senior pets have fully developed personalities, you need to discuss your living situation and expectations with rescue workers or shelter personnel before you make an adoption decision.

While you should take any new pet to see a veterinarian, doing so is especially critical for a senior dog or cat with an incomplete medical history. In addition to a physical examination, you should have basic blood work done to ensure your new pet is healthy.

Some senior pets have been abused or abandoned by previous owners, so they may be slower to trust new people than puppies or kittens. This means you need to be patient with your new dog or cat. Once you win the trust of your pet, however, you will have an extremely devoted companion.

Bringing Your Senior Pet Home
When bringing an older dog or cat into your household, you need to take everything slowly, minimize stress and establish a routine. Older pets often need a bit more time to acclimate to a new situation than younger animals.

A Stress-Free Environment
Have the pet’s dishes, bed and litter set up before you bring the animal home. A consistent environment is comforting to animals. Also, be sure to put your new pet’s bed in a safe place, but do not cut the animal off from the family. Your new dog or cat will want to observe you and learn your routine.

The Right Food
All animals have trouble with sudden changes in diet, but such changes are often harder on older animals. If possible, provide your pet with the same food it was eating in the shelter or in its previous home. This will help prevent digestive upset. If you wish, you can gradually transition to a new food over time by mixing the old food with the new.

A Word About Visitors
While it can be tempting to invite all of your friends over to meet your new pet, this is not a good idea. Older dogs and cats are often more set in their ways than younger animals, so your new pet will need a few weeks to get used to you and your family. After your dog or cat has settled into your home, you can gradually introduce it to new people.

If you have any questions about introducing a senior pet into your home, contact us today.

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